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Paintings > Hindu > Baramasa: The Month of Shravana
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Baramasa: The Month of Shravana

Baramasa: The Month of Shravana

Baramasa: The Month of Shravana

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Water Color on Paper
Artist: Navneet Parikh

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Baramasa, basically a tradition of poetry, confined largely to revealing inter-action-reaction of nature’s phenomena and human emotions, more so of those in love and suffering pangs of separation; however, India’s unique geography which subtle, constant and continuous cycle of seasons characterised, people’s emotional temperament of which love and sacrifice have been the core, and conventions like those seeking to classify young lovers, male and female, as Nayakas – heroes, and Nayikas – heroines, helped Baramasa theme evolve as an independent genre of Indian literature presenting a strange blend of classicism and folk, the great classics like the Ritu-Samhara by the legendary Sanskrit poet Kalidasa being its apex.

Perhaps in an effort to discover its greater visual dimensions miniatures illustrating Baramasa theme further widened or rather universalised its scope. ‘Viyoga’ or ‘viraha’ is not as phenomenal as is ‘sanyoga’ – the union, and hence union, not separation, is a natural preference of Baramasa paintings. The rivers in spate eager to meet the sea better define the month of Shravana than does a dried stream. Young creepers affectionately embracing trees represent a greater phenomenal aspect of the month of rains than does a creeper lying on the ground with all leaves fallen. Restlessly sparkling lightening playing with clouds, a dancing peacock, and a monsoon-laden sky bending on the earth to meet it proclaim that the month of Shravana is more befitting a time for love and lovers to meet and unite rather than to moan in separation.

Apart such emphasis on union in love, a miniature seeks its phenomenal aspect also in various festivities associated with a certain month, such as the festival of Diwali for representing the month of Kartika, or celebration of Holi for representing the month of Phalguna. The month of Shravana has associated with it two major festivals, Rakshabandhana, more often represented as young damsels enjoying swinging, and Gana-Gaura, the festival related to Parvati, Lord Shiva’s consort, commemorating her union with Shiva, as also devoted to her worship.

This brilliant piece of art representing the month of Shravana, correspondingly the period from mid-July to mid-August, rendered in Marwar style of Rajasthani painting prevalent at Jodhpur around the last quarter of the eighteenth century, portrays Gana-Gaura for symbolising the month of Shravana. As is the convention, in the foreground two groups of ladies, particular those seeking conjugal bliss, are out in a procession with foremost of the each group carrying Parvati’s idols on their heads. After worshipping these idols for a week and holding fast along with they are heading towards the pond for consigning them to water. The royal lovers, while engaged in love, are witnessing the processions from their terrace pavilion, and a young warrior/courtier is watching them from his door-steps. The entire background, deep dense clouds, serpents’ like waving lightening, ponds filled to the brim, warriors returning home and delighted cranes spanning the sky, further attest the fact of the emergence of the month of Shravana.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

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